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Ward v. Mays

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

October 9, 2014

JAMES RAY WARD, Plaintiff
v.
Officer JENNISE LAGAIL MAYS, Et al., Defendants

ORDER

MARC T. TREADWELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff JAMES RAY WARD, an inmate at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison ("GD&CP"), filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit (Doc. 1).

As this Court ordered on September 17, 2014 (Doc. 6), Plaintiff has paid the initial partial filing fee of $10.93. He will be obligated to pay the unpaid balance of $339.07, using the installment payment plan described in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). The account custodian at GD&CP shall cause to be remitted to the Clerk of this Court monthly payments of 20% of the preceding month's income credited to Plaintiff's account (to the extent the account balance exceeds $10) until the $350 filing fee has been paid in full. The Clerk of Court is directed to send a copy of this Order to the business manager at GD&CP.

In its September 17 Order, the Court also directed Plaintiff to supplement his complaint, which he has done (Doc. 7). The allegations in Plaintiff's original complaint and supplement are addressed below.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), a federal court is required to conduct an initial screening of a prisoner complaint "which seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity." Section 1915A(b) requires a federal court to dismiss a prisoner complaint that is: (1) "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted"; or (2) "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief."

A claim is frivolous when it appears from the face of the complaint that the factual allegations are "clearly baseless" or that the legal theories are "indisputably meritless." Carroll v. Gross , 984 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993). A complaint fails to state a claim when it does not include "enough factual matter (taken as true)" to "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests[.]" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007) (noting that "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, " and that the complaint "must contain something more... than... a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action") (internal quotations and citations omitted); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (explaining that "threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice").

In making the above determinations, all factual allegations in the complaint must be viewed as true. Brown v. Johnson , 387 F.3d 1344, 1347 (11th Cir. 2004). Moreover, "[p]ro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be liberally construed." Tannenbaum v. United States , 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998).

In order to state a claim for relief under section 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) an act or omission deprived him of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or a statute of the United States; and (2) the act or omission was committed by a person acting under color of state law. Hale v. Tallapoosa County , 50 F.3d 1579, 1581 (11th Cir. 1995). If a litigant cannot satisfy these requirements, or fails to provide factual allegations in support of his claim or claims, then the complaint is subject to dismissal. See Chappell v. Rich , 340 F.3d 1279, 1282-84 (11th Cir. 2003) (affirming the district court's dismissal of a section 1983 complaint because the plaintiffs factual allegations were insufficient to support the alleged constitutional violation). See also 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) (dictating that a complaint, or any portion thereof, that does not pass the standard in section 1915A "shall" be dismissed on preliminary review).

II. BACKGROUND

This action arises out of Plaintiff's attack by another inmate at GD&CP on August 5, 2012. According to Plaintiff, his attacker, Defendant Reinaldo Rivera, convinced Defendant Officer Jennise LaGail Mays to "let him out" for hot water. Once out, Rivera came to Plaintiff's cell and attacked Plaintiff from behind. Plaintiff was immediately taken to the hospital where he received treatment for his injuries. Mays purportedly "admitted she was at fault by letting inmate Rivera out."

Following the assault, Defendant Unit Manager B.D. Scott allegedly ordered Defendant Sergeant Timothy Konzelman to "write" Plaintiff up "so the prison could recoup the damages [] I caused inmate Rivera who was at fault." Konzelman allegedly filed a disciplinary report against Plaintiff, notwithstanding that Konzelman had seen a tape showing that Rivera "was clearly in the wrong." Plaintiff's allegations regarding the disciplinary proceeding are sketchy at best. Scott apparently was the disciplinary hearing officer and ordered that $149.57 be taken from Plaintiff's inmate account. Plaintiff's account was allegedly frozen for 17 months. Plaintiff's only objection to the disciplinary proceeding is that Scott had a conflict of interest in both ordering that Plaintiff be written up and "being judge and jury."

In addition to Rivera, Mays, Scott, and Konzelman, Plaintiff names Warden Bruce Chatman as a Defendant. Notwithstanding the Court directing Plaintiff to do so in its Order to supplement, Plaintiff fails to ...


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